LORDS OF THE EARTH CAMPAIGN 54
“LORDS OF THEEURTH”
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Turn Thirteen Newsfax
- or the greatest revolutionary changes on this earth would not have been thinkable if their motive force, instead of fanatical, yes, hysterical passion, had been merely the bourgeois virtues of law and order.
– Adolf Hitler
evolution is an axiom backed by bayonets
– Napoleon Bonaparte
evolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly.
– Mao Tse-Tung
here is no revolution that can change the nature of man
– Benito Mussolini
- he most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
– Hannah Arendt
very successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.
– Barbara Tuchman
1) Let me reiterate an important house rule. I neither read nor implement orders included only in the body of an e-mail. Ever. Put it in the Excel orders file if at all possible, or in a separate .txt file if not. Orders in e-mail are not orders.
2) Turns out that I was wrong about a ruling I made. When the rules refer to paying an extra +1 AP to cross an uncontrolled border, that is -any- border you don’t control, including non-national wilderness region borders. So, everyone slow down.
|The Skane Jarldoms –
Ruler – King Bjarnalf
Capital – Vanaheim
Dominant Race – Human
||Furious over the Daeron raids at the Skane March, the Skane loaded up their ships to respond in kind. Søren Overgaard and Boris Bamsndvaerder put to see with the entire Skane fleet. Although a motley collection of many hull types, the fleet was large and well-crewed. The Skane fleet boasted Conorrian-style dromonds, Tirgonian-style galleys and indigenous longships and dragonships. All told, the fleet numbered sixty ships.
In actuality, there were two Skane fleets. Bamsndvaerder’s was to monitor the high seas, raiding Daerond shipping, while Overgaard’s stormed ashore at Landegol, Hastaalm and Nivaan to raid and plunder.
The Skane, however, were not the only ones with plunder on their minds, and in early 2841 lookouts sighted sails on the horizon. The Daeron fleet had sailed out to raid the north. Unfortunately for the Daerons, they had neither the numbers nor the experience of the Skane sailors. Their mere dozen warships were no match for any portion of the Skane fleet, much less its assembled might.
The sea battle off the Daerond Coast was as brief as it was one-sided. It was not, however, without conspicuous gallantry on the part of Delion Danaur, Lord of Lycia and commander of the Daeron fleet. Seeing his fleet vastly outnumbered and the wind in the wrong quarter to allow him to flee, Danaur charged in, his ships grappling any vessel they could find and boarding them. They sank nearly a dozen smaller Skane longships before being sunk themselves. Danaur went down with his ship.
Overgaard’s raids were sudden, but not particularly decisive. Decades of similar raids had left Landegol and Hastaalm with little of value, and the assembled Daerond army at Nivaan hampered Overgaard’s ability to seize undefended farms and villages. Eventually, the Skane fleets returned to Skaneholme with more of a moral victory than an economic one.
In Vanaheim, Lord Erek Hauffsen was governor, and under his hand the city built its first grist mills and brewery. King Bjarnalf fathered twin girls in 2841 and another son in 2842.
The Kingdom of Tirgonia –
Ruler – King Gareth
Capital – Tirgon
Dominant Race – Human
|The time had come. Tirgonians had been at war with Daerond since before the time of Arkemon I, and now King Gareth marched forth to end it at last.
All of Tirgonia’s nobles, knights and soldiers surged forth in a single riding. Twenty-thousand strong, including three thousand knights and two thousand elite Tirgonian Longbowmen, they rode south, they raided the Iron Hills and then marched through Sothwall into lightly defended Nivaan. (See The Iron Empire of Daerond, below.)
A series of fires sprang up in the scriptorium which held many of the state records, but these were quickly put out. It was quickly discovered that someone had barred shut most of the doors to the place, threatening to cook to the scribes and librarians alive, but most escaped unharmed through a side door and quick
efforts to douse the flames were successful.
|The Iron Empire of Daerond –
Ruler –Empress Melisandre von Landegol
Capital – Aicherai
Dominant Race – Human
Galos the Wise, heir to the Iron Throne, left his command in Landegol and moved hurriedly to take command of the woefully small garrison of Nivaan. He did not know where the Empress had gone, only that she left him in command of Nivaan. With just two thousand troops under his command, Galos did his best to reinforce the region’s defenses with breastworks, trenches and sorcery.
Delion Danaur and his dozen ships put out into the Narglaurith river and raided the Harkorian province of Himerium. The many river defenses and castles prevented the raiders from wrecking the region, but many small villages were looted and docks were burned. From there, Danaur raided the forests of Archaieon and the island of Naxarius before setting off north where he collided with two Skane fleets (See The Skane Jarldoms, above).
Theron Morbanes tied the thrice-bound knot of the Malbor dedicant into his sash, pulling robes tight about his person, before turning to face the select gathering in the small chamber. A distant cousin of the late, much-mourned Bishop Morbanes, Theron was a priest as well, and, like his kinsman before him, felt called to serve the great House of Aicherai in this time of war.
He stepped to the black obsidian altar and the exsanguinated sacrifice that awaited him there. Dipping his rod of governance deep into the blood basin, he stepped to the left and, with three short, sharp flicks of his wrist, spattered the crimson liquid onto a broad flagstone of white marble set into the floor. It was the only element of white in that dusky chamber, bespotted now with the tell-tale patterns of a blood-reading, the omens clear to the trained eye of a priest.
Or rather: usually clear. Usually indicative of Malbors will for his chosen people.
Theron studied the patterns intently, his brow furrowed. Silence lengthened. One advisor cleared his throat, and prompted quietly, What is it you see, your Grace?
It was a moment more before Theron answered. Galos the Wise readied to march northwards, he knew, to the Tirgonian border; he himself had been appointed to govern Great Rift in the absence of Empress Melisandre, who was occupied elsewhere with a pressing task. The omens should speak to these things: to hostile neighbors to north and south, or to the venturings of the Empress and her Consort, or perhaps even to the fate of the arriving allies Morbanes would greet later that week.
But none of these things were visible in the pattern of blood-truth upon the stone. Only unordered, random flecks greeted the priests eyes, a chaos that defied interpretation. Surely there was a message here to be discerned, but on this day, that discernment was beyond the priest.
He turned to the onlookers. Malbor does not wish his intentions known at this time, he said. Well look again at the dark of the moon. Let us do a Great Sacrifice at that time something more certain to draw divine attention, and a response to our inquiries.
Heads nodded agreement. There were plenty of Harkorian and Tirgonian prisoners of war collected in the slave pits. They would make ready fodder for the 100 tortured deaths that constituted a Great Sacrifice, and still leave bodies enough for continued slave labor in the rebuilding of the realm.
Theron led the elite assemblage forth from the chamber. Preparations for war awaited, and there was no time to lose.
In the fall of 2841, an army of thirty-five hundred Edgemoor Orcs under the command of General Kraag the Handsome marched out of the mountains and moved to reinforce the Great Rift. They brought with them a great store of food for the residents of Aicherai (including a horrid-smelling concoction well known to every orcish soldier on the march: Moss and Slug Soup). By the following summer they were joined by seven thousand troops from Ascarlon under the command of the great hero Cambyses and backed up by the terrible sorcery of Gauros the Arisen.
At about the same time, two other armies moved into Harkoria. The Tirgonians stormed into Nivaan in the summer of 2842 with twenty thousand well-armed and well-led troops while the Harkorians forded the Narglaurith with ten thousand troops of their own. More than half of both Grail armies were highly experienced veteran troops.
Within three months, the Harkorians under General Alexeos had swept aside the Daeron defenders of Landegol, whom they outnumbered five to one and seized control of the province. Under order of the Council, no living thing was left alive in Landegol. Every soldier, every woman, child and farm animal was slaughtered. Local leaders were brutally tortured for information before they, too, were exterminated in the name of the gods.
The battle for Nivaan was even more lopsided. Outnumbered ten to one, the defenses and magic of the Daerons were hardly noticed by the victorious Tirgonians as Galos’s army was swatted aside. The Tirgonians, too, were thorough and unrelenting in their brutality. So complete was the destruction and murder in Nivaan that even the new roads to Aicherai were torn up, much to King Gareth’s displeasure. Despite the slaughter, Galos the Wise was not found among the dead.
In the fall of 2843, the Tirgonians moved on to the Great Rift, where the joint Ascar/Edgemoor army awaited them behind barricades dug deep during the rape of Nivaan. Here the Tirgonians faced a far more dangerous foe. Not only were the Dark Court allies led by a brilliant and unpredictable general in Cambyses, and not only were they well dug-in, but the Ascars had raised thousands of shambling dead, troopers who had died in the Great Rift in previous battles. Also, the Tirgonian weapons and armor began to rust almost immediately upon entering the province, the effects of a powerful curse that overcame of the best of oilcloth wrappings.
Daeron assasins failed to kill Lord Maxim, the Tirgonian general, and the battle was joined in the heat of a dusty, oven-dry day. Much of the Tirgonian army was heavy cavalry, and after a barrage by Tirgonian longbowmen, the cavalry charged the Dark Court defenses in what proved to be a fruitless and costly attempt to carry the breastworks in a single go. In bitter hand-to-hand fighting the allies drove back the horsemen with bloody losses. Six more charges throughout the day equally failed to break the allied lines, though it inflicted ghastly casualties. By nightfall, the allies still held their positions.
In a council held during the night, Kraag the Handsome and Gauros the Arisen both agreed that despite their thrashing of the Tirgonians during the day, their own losses were far too heavy to sustain further combat in the face of the destruction of the Daeron army. They agreed to slip away in the middle of the night. Had he known this, Tirgonian general Maxis might have pursued the retiring allies and inflicted on them a decisive rout. But his own commanders were engaged in a fierce round of mutual blame for the day’s debacle and no one detected the Dark Court’s sudden withdrawal under cover of darkness. When the sun rose the next day, the Tirgonian lookouts were treated to the astonishing sight of abandoned fortifications and an open road to Aicherai. As at Nivaan, the Tirgonians burned the fields and uprooted crops, rounded up and murdered the inhabitants of the towns and villages and generally slew everyone who had not had the luck or foresight to flee into the defenses of Aicherai. From there the Tirgonian army retired to Nivaan.
In the wake of this complete destruction of the central power of the Empire, its remaining parts declared independence (though the Iron Hills orcs immediately declared their allegiance to Corash the Brave of the Edgemoor Orcs). The people of Aicherai dared the Grailites to do their worst. As an nation, Daerond had ceased to exist.
The Harkorian League –
Ruler –General Alexeos
Capital – Cadares
Dominant Race – Human
|The end of the long struggle against their former oppressors was finally at hand. Ten thousand mixed troops from across Harkoria assembled in the rolling green fields of Himerium under the command of general Alexeos. First Councillor Azazel and many other members of the Council were present, but it was Alexeos who was in command.
The army had arrived in Himerium just after the region was raided by Daeron pirates, but the army did not pause to offer succor to the people; their only mission was death, not life. Despite the Narglaurith being swollen with the spring rains, Alexeos crossed the river into Landegol in the spring of 2842. (See The Iron Empire of Daerond, above).
After the total victory in Landegol, as the troops were celebrating the abasement of their hated foe, ale and wine ran like the waters of the Narglaurith. It was then that Alexeos struck.
The Council had long been an annoyance to the General. He was, after all, the most popular man in Harkoria and taking orders from a bunch of dilettante politicians was simply injurious to his dignitas. Anyone could see that. So, in the middle of the night, Alexeos has the entire pack of them arrested. Simultaneously with the arrests in Landegol, Alexeos’s clients seized important councillors who had remained at home instead of coming on campaign. The army roared its approval and crowned General Alexeos as supreme ruler of Harkoria.
The Edgemoor Orcs –
Ruler –Corash the Brave
Capital – Zaramaka
Dominant Race – Orcs
|Corash sent Kraag the Handsome west with thirty-five hundred troops to help defend the Great Rift. (See The Iron Empire of Daerond, above). He sent along tons of foodstuff including his own personal favorite, Moss and Slug soup, a foul brew so noxious that it makes strong men to weep.
Corash himself traveled to the Wilding Vale and, feeling that he didn’t have enough worthy enemies, offered to knock in the teeth of the local chieftains if they didn’t join his realm and immediately produce their treasuries for his personal inspection. Only the presence of five thousand heavily-armed Edgemoor troopers kept Corash out of the dankest hold in the worst Wilding Vale dungeon.
Kron the Brilliant took Corash’s sons Hauge and Vaprak under his wing and allowed the young orcs to ride with him and his five hundred cavalry as he raided east over the prairies, looting Gwaelod Hen, Kemali, Lidalya, Averni, Merodaun, Ardast and the Blood Mire. Time spent at the knee of the great warrior proved its worth – both princes gained a deeper understanding of military tactics.
|The Brythnian Confederation –
Ruler – Queen Rhea
Capital – Carrenthium
Dominant Race – Taurid
Diplomacy – Lloricam [NT], The Great Meadow [-]
|Queen Rhea named Lady Kore as her heir and successor. She then traveled to the Great Meadow to try to reestablish better relations, but found the centaurs there highly intolerant, indeed hateful, of her pagan Spirit Cult beliefs and they refused to join any closer with their former queen.
Lady Megeira raised three thousand centaur cavalry and acquired another three thousand minotaur infantry from Queen Rhea. With this force she marched into the Cendarinne mountains and attacked the orcs there. The orcs turned out a light force of perhaps three thousand and fought savagely in a series of small actions across the province. The taurids were hampered by the mountainous terrain, particularly the cavalry, but Megeira’s good leadership, combined with her mastery of dangerous magics made all the difference in the months of running battles. The orcs were driven out of their homes and forced to flee deep into the most inhospitable portions of the range. Megeira and her troops then looted the few poor orcish villages and moved on.
Next she marched up to the orcish fortress-city of Waertag with the intentions of laying it under siege. This soon proved to be wholly impracticable with the force at her disposal. Not only did the city’s walls loom high over the taurids heads, but its impressive and foreboding fortress overawed any attempt to circumvallate the place. Unable to do more and unwilling to suffer the taunts and catapults of the orcs, the Brythnians withdrew back to their homeland.
The new heir, Kore, traveled to the former Brythnian province of Lloricam to inveigle the centaur tribes into restoring their old oaths of allegiance. Unfortunately, Kore died during a hunting accident in 2844. The Lloricamites
agreed to allow the Brythnians to travel over their lands, but no more.
Lord Palamon, minotaur chieftain of the Dacian Hills, traveled to Echoriath in the Conorrian Empire, where he retrieved certain Brythnian heirlooms long on loan to the Empire. After returning these to Queen Rhea, Palamon returned home.
The folk of Tathlann and Carrenthium began to murmur louder at the queen, saying that she ought not to have named Kore as heir, but should settle and produce an heir of her own!
Ruler –King Marvin Fatfish
Capital – The Great Delve
Dominant Race – Halfling
|In the fair green fields of Greensward, work continues on the Learned Delves of Valkrys, the great religious monument of Aelissia, and upon “Blessed Brandobaris Raises the Grail“, the monumental statue of the first Aelissian king, upon whom the halflings are urging the Primate to confer the status of sainthood. An equally large, if less noticeable amount of investment and labor was spent upon the Aelissian government itself, with King Marvin’s reforms being roundly supported by the Moot.
Marvin himself ruled from the Great Delve. He made a speech before the Moot extolling the virtues of his friend and lieutenant Leeland Brownbarley, currently governor of Artence, and at his urging the Moot elected Brownbarley to the position of Chancellor. Personal tragedy struck the royal family in 2844 when Marvin’s beloved but curiously unnamed wife died of complications during childbirth. The child also died.
Bishop Monteverde governed the capital until his death in 2842. He died at the age of thirty-seven choking on a chicken bone too quickly swallowed during yet another of the sumptuous feasts to which the bishop’s position had allowed him to grow accustomed.
Meanwhile, in far Brythnia, Kendall Lowtide had tired of sitting on his rump guarding taurids three times his size. It was time to fight. No man can say precisely which route Lowtide and his elite halfling rangers took, nor by what strange means they slipped so thoroughly
through the many patrols of the Dark Court. But in the Spring of 2843, Kendall Lowtide and five thousand elite Aelissian slingers suddenly descended upon the orcs of Vilcea and began to maraud their way through the province. It took them three months to defeat the orcish farmers and settlers, which they did with little difficulty. Then, two months later as the halflings were gleefully looting the province, word came that a great host of orcs was marching up from the south.
THE BATTLE OF VILCEA
King Jortak Bloodhelm and his army of twelve thousand orcs spread out across a valley green with new corn and rye. Hastily drawn up on the low slope ahead of them were Lowtide and his five thousand slingers backed by a small contingent of pony-mounted archers. Isolated from their bases of supply, the Aelissian army suffered from the lack of many basic supplies. On the other hand, the army was nearly all elite, was backed up by cavalry and had in Lowtide both an excellent commander and a powerful sorcerer. Lowtide’s magic was subtle, guiding the aim of his slingers and strengthening their purpose.
The orcs by comparison were fighting on their home ground, outnumbered the invaders, and had Jortak Bloodhelm in command. Like his opponent, Bloodhelm was both a great general and a sorcerer. Only the orcish sorcery was more direct and brutal. The ogres that fronted his army were magically doubled in size and ferocity, while the thousands of orcish warriors each seemed that much more bestial and bloodthirsty.
The Battle of Vilcea lasted all day and into the night. The deadly spears and slings of the halflings were fast and accurate, while the great mauls and axes of the orcs came on in waves of fatal attacks. The halflings stood their ground, but their lines shrunk ever further as the orcs kept coming, striding over their own dead to attack the diminutive foes. Around dusk an orcish charge carried all the way to the halfing command group, and Kendall Lowtide was nearly killed by the great iron hammer of a wild orc.
In the end, both armies broke off the attack because of their heavy losses. The orcs retreated to the Worldspine Mountains and slowly gathered strength as the scattered elements of their army straggled in and survivors improved in health. The halflings had no such luxury. Surrounded by enemies and cut off by geography, they straggled westward in Napoca, forced to leave stragglers and the wounded behind.
THE BATTLE OF NAPOCA
The armies of Ascarlon may have been oblivious to the stealthy passing of the halflings the year before, but by now they were fully aware of the battles to their south. Though the main army was away to the west, several of Ascarlon’s feudal allies lay in wait for the battered Aelissians as they struggled to return home. Twenty-three hundred Aelissian slingers faced three thousand Ascar light infantry along a dirt road deep in the hills of Napoca. The Ascars were under the command of Medrec, Lord of Napoca, along with Hengist of Arad and Rhestin of the Firefields. Wounded, General Lowtide was able to direct the battle only through his captains.
The Ascars came on in a semicircle of long knives and pole arms, while the battle-hardened Aelissian veterans drew up in a defensive formation and let fly with a lethal rain of lead bullets and sharp stones. Though the Aelissians were experienced professionals, they now suffered from a debilitating lack of unified command, and this cost them greatly as the coordinated attacks of the Ascars drove the halflings in at the flanks again and again. Ultimately, the halflings managed to drive off the lightly-armed levies of the Ascars and proceed on their way, though they left hundreds of their own dead and dying on the field.
In the fall of 2845, General Lowtide and fifteen hundred hungry, dirty and angry halflings struggled out of the Cendarinnes and into the Aelissian camp in the Brythnian hills. Lowtide immediately dispatched a letter to the Moot demanding to be allowed to bring his boys home.
Ruler –King Tancred
Capital – Khairais
Dominant Race – Human
|The men of Corland continued to concentrate on re-establishing their ravaged realm. Prince Tancred raised two thousand infantry to replace those lost to war, while king Armand sent thousands of colonists into Serry to take up the rich farmlands there.
Armand died of old age in 2845. Though he had long since named his son Tancred as his heir, there were many who saw the Crown Prince as weak, and rebelled against his rule. Lords Folcwine and Tristan were quite vocal in their objections, but neither man was well-liked by the army and both were soon arrested for their treason. Nonetheless, the northern provinces of Derandime and Lilloger, never closely tied to the throne, declared their independence.
Ruler –King Artorius
Capital – Armorica
Dominant Race – Human
|As he had when Lorraine was threatened by pirates, Old king Artorius responded to the orcish invasion by assembling an international force and crushing the threat with overwhelming force.
First he sent his son and heir Mordred to treat with the orcs. This was never intended to be an honest parlay, but a mere delaying tactic. Little matter, for the savage orcs of Dines tried to capture Mordred almost immediately. Hurling curses over his shoulder, the prince rode for safety while his bodyguards were butchered by the orcs.
As Artorius assembled first his own troops and then others at Armorica, the orcs were on the move. Ten thousand strong, they marched slowly through Howel, Meliodas and Priamus, burning and looting along the way. In Meliodas, they not only looted the land but slew Sir Cathal, lord of that land.
Meanwhile, a great effort by the Lorraine, Llyran and Valesian navies had brought the armies of those three nations plus the Neldorean Elves together at Andred by the spring of 2843. They were joined by Bishop Constantikos of the Grail Primacy with a division of Church troops. More than forty thousand soldiers – one of the largest armies ever assembled in Theeurth – stood ready on the plains of Andred when the orcs arrived.
They included ten thousand Lorrainers, three thousand human mercenaries hired by the Grail Primate, sixteen thousand Neldorean elves (half of whom were elite elven archers), five thousand elite Valesian hoplites, three thousand Llyran soldiers (as well as a dozen skyhips and skyskiffs) and two thousand paladins of the Grail. And at the head of all was old king Artorius in his gleaming armor wielding The Red Mace
The battle was short and brutal and ended not all as the orcs had envisioned. The soft and effete lowlanders they had envisioned were replaced by the reality of rank upon rank of implacable men and elves. Within hours the orcs were routed, streaming north in ragged columns beset by elvish cavalry and Llyran skyships. Few indeed made it alive back to the deep woods of Dines.
But everyone wondered – the rumors had said that there were sixty thousand orcs. Where the other fifty thousand? Wonder, indeed.
In 2844, Sir Thark of the Closed Helm died of old age. Both Artorius’s third son Edward and his trusted lieutenant Sir Boru died in the same year of a raging fever.
In 2845, Sir Dalarose of the Lonely Tower, a famous diplomat, came to the court of Artorius to serve the great king for a time.
|The Whisper Wood –
Ruler –Queen Elevuil
Capital – Menelcandara
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Diron Peaks [NT], Brandian [-]
|Queen Elevuil and her court traveled to the giantish province of the Diron Peaks. With great delicacy and pomp, they convinced the Diron giants to allow the travel of elvish armies and merchants over their mountain passes.
At the same time, Lord Vaire traveled among the noble giantish families, preaching to them of the power and glory of the Lords of the Grail. The giants were resistant to the new religion, hewing to their ancient traditions. But a small number of younger giants heard the message with interest and declared their dedication to the Grail.
Prince Fealurë, Elevuil’s son and heir, ruled the Whisper Wood from Menelcandara for four years. In 2845, he traveled to Brandian and sought the hand in marriage of the daughter of Brandian’s prince. The lord of Brandian took a dim view of Fealurë’s over hasty wooing of his daughter, lecturing the prince that the daughter was his greatest treasure, and that no elf might have her hand who did not demonstrate his love for her with more time than a few mere seasons.
|The Neldorean Wood –
Ruler –Queen Nereil
Capital – Elenuil
Dominant Race – Elf
|Lord Taralom and Lady Senelra drop garrisons in the Riftmarch and the Crystal Shore. Then, with the aid of the Lorraine and Llyran navies, transport an immense army across the sea to Andred in Lorraine (See The Kingdom of Lorraine, above).
From there, Lord Taralom sailed south towards Luxur and beyond.
Queen Nereil made a public show of summoning up ten thousand elvish warriors, of closing off certain valleys and forests for “training” and making sure foreign sailors knew that certain roads and towns were off limits to them because of the army in training. Yet word of this ruse soon leaked out when a foppish courtier was overheard in a marketplace assuring a friend that he need not worry about being drafted into service since no actual soldiers were being trained.
|The Exarchate of the Great Crusade –
Ruler –Exarch Candos
Capital – Pontezium
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – South Akasia [-], Black Fields [-], Thyestes [-]
|As a reward for his extreme bravery against the dragon Urugall, Queen Ava elevated Charles, Duke of the Salt Shore, to the rank of Prince in 2841. She also named her brother Candos as her heir in the same year.
Ava and Candos, both sorcerers, summoned to them spirits of earth and water to help renew the land of Querenia. The spirits channeled water into fallow meadows and tilled earth in the fields, enriching the land for the rule of man. The queen then traveled to South Akasia and tried her hand at diplomacy. Unfortunately, she died on a winter evening in 2844. Her death derailed the negotiations, and South Akasia remained a mere ally.
Prince Candos had been concentrating (without luck) on raising a family when his sister died, leaving him as the Exarch. The transition from brother to sister was smooth, and all the lords of the land came to swear fealty to Candos, son of Bleobaris.
Lord Bradley governed in Laedrus, and proved to be an adequate, if uninspired, administrator. Like his two sovereigns, Bradley is a wizard, and summoned a horde of ghoskeen, dust-devil like creatures from another dimension, to terrace the hills and smooth the roads of the Akasian Hills.
Lord Finten traveled to the Black Fields and to Thyestes, seeking the rights of passage from both. His haste in both places meant that he succeeded in neither.
Charles of the Salt Shore, recently elevated to Prince, died in 2842 at the age of 42 when his tower burned down in a freak accident. His wife, Princess Rose (sister of Ava and Candos) died with him. He left his province to the Exarchate. Roger of Pomarche died in 2844 after choking on a succulent rib in sauce. His heirs repudiated the alliance with the Exarchate declared their independence.
|The Holy Order of the Dawn –
Ruler –Grand Master Lactantius
Capital – The Akasian Hills
Dominant Race – Human
|The Order underwent a massive build-up of forces, raising five thousand troops, including a thousand Knights of the Golden Dawn.
Grand Master Lactantius ruled the order from the Akasian Hills while Master Claudius traveled to war-ravaged Adoria to speak with local noblemen and generally fly the flag of the Order. Unfortunately, the slightly oafish Claudius chose to speak publicly of the confidence in the Order held by the gods themselves just as a terrible blight spread across the fertile fields of Adoria, withering summer crops where they stood. Superstitious peasants hounded the obviously guilty Claudius back to his Order’s chapterhouse where he was rescued by his men.
Master Osullia, with the five thousand newly-raised troops, marched to Lenicum and after taking command of the Order’s large garrison, stood watch on the Worldspine approaches.
|The Shadowed Realm of Ascarlon –
Ruler –Baron Gauros the Arisen
Capital – Denavine
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – The Sinking Land[EA], Vartalan [EA]
|Baron Gauros and the great hero Cambyses marched west to the aid of Daerond at the head of seven thousand troops (See The Iron Empire of Daerond, above). After that disaster, they retreated as far as Ghedrosia.
In 2843, feudal lords loyal Ascarlon ambushed and fought an Aelissian army in Napoca (See Aelissia, above).
Lords Garal of the Yellow Sails and Uliagas of Ios traveled to the coastal provinces of the Sinking Land and Vartalan. In each, they convinced the chieftains of those provinces to allow Ascar control of their trade, and Ascar trade through their lands. This allowed an extension of Ascar trade all the way to the Great Kingdom of Annvar.
Finally, the recultivation of Orodea continued at a slow pace.
The Worldspine Orcs –
Ruler –RegentJortak Bloodhelm
Capital – Mount Kauroth
Dominant Race – Orc
|At first,the orcs seemed all too quiet in these years. No reports reached civilized lands of orcish movements, save for one. An orcish force of one thousand goblin warg-riders under Mendak Half-Goblin tried to infiltrate into Dhûnazhar, but ran directly into a much larger army comprised of a thousand Dhûnazhar dwarves and nine thousand humans loyal to the Great Church. These were commanded by Lord Fundin of Bregor and Tonali, Prince of the Church. The allied force easily shattered the goblin force and killed Mendak Half-Goblin.
The Dwarven/Church army continued north to the region of Torokon and easily bested the local militias. Then, these “sons of light” began to brutally slaughter every last orc in Torokon. Began, but did not finish. For Jortak Bloodhelm came rushing to the defense of the local hobgoblins at the head of thirteen thousand heavily-armed orcs, goblins and ogres.
In many ways the Grail allies held the advantages, for the had many elite troops and more mounted troops than their foes. Both sides had brilliant commanders and excellent lieutenants. But the Grail troops were spread out, rounding up their victims, while the orcs came on in a single, steady wave of fury and
vengeance. So surprised were Lords Fundin and Tonali that they failed to react quickly enough to the orcish onslaught and Jortak was able to attack their scattered forces piecemeal, completely wiping out the Grail forces in a single month, suffering only the most negligible losses himself. Lord Fundin was wounded, but escaped death when he was knocked unconscious in an orcish charge which then swept on by. Bishop Tonali, prince of the Church and brother of the Sultan of Har’akir was captured and ritually slaughtered, his skin, tanned and dyed, was used to adorn the orcish battle-standard.
From there, Jortak rushed to put out a second assault…of halflings. (See Aelissia, above).
Almost unnoticed in this commotion was a series of murders within Mount Kauroth. Several important clan leaders were strangled or had their throats slit. The killer or killers were not found, but clan life went on pretty much as it always had – violently.
|The Empire of Carhallas –
Ruler –Emperor Maugroth the Younger
Capital – Carcaroth
Dominant Race – Hobgoblin
|Emperor Maugroth slipped silently away from Elsend in the middle of the night with the host of his army, leaving only a thousand troops to keep alight the fires and dust of twenty times their number. With his great army, Maugroth marched south to war upon the Conorrian Empire.
He crossed the Esharias river at Lascuta and marched into Lederata As his army marched past Mount Cornus, most of his troopers took with them pieces of pumice and obsidian as souvenirs of their march. Within months, Maugroth was master of this northeastern Conorrian province and had set a ring around the city of Colanum. The city was ill-prepared for a siege and capitulated in the Spring of 2843. The Emperor then set up an elaborate and deadly defense facing south into Ganthus Longa. As he expected, the Conorrian Emperor soon marched up the road to meet him. (See The Battle of Lederata, below).
Simultaneously, his feudal allies assembled five thousand light cavalry on the banks of the Esharias river and, crossing at Lascuta, rode hundreds of miles down the western bank until they arrived at the rich province of Borophoros, which they raided with impunity.
Some of these raiders could not return to their home provinces in time and as a result, a few of them (the lords of Golod and Cavakal) rebelled against the Empire.
|The Great Kingdom of Annvar –
Ruler –First Councillor Laskal
Capital – Varthane
Dominant Race – Human
The Standard of Annvar
|The nation of Varthane took advantage of its remote position to remain home and attend to domestic matters.
First Councillor Laskal sent colonists into the forests of Enkkia, while continuing to devote men and materials to the cultivation of the forests of Marvald.
First Councillor Laskal ruled the land from Varthane while Councillor Gudge governed the capital city in the name of the Council. Gudge spent most of his time expanding his own influence and those of his clients.
Councillor Maras governed the eastern city of Coinde, and expanded trade with the elves of Meledrian and the seafarers of Nikitya.
Councillor Voriax traveled took two thousand cavalry across the Wolf river to raid Aclad and Gelio for slaves. Alas, they found only a few dozen dazed woodsmen and a bag of pine nuts.
Ruler –King Elorian Mistmantle
Capital – Ennilas
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Bregil [A]
||After a massive investment in strong-walled towers and hidden caves along the western frontier with the hobgoblins, King Mistmantle divided his army in two and sent half to Orodel to watch for any further hobgoblin incursions.
The King of the Wood himself commanded the remaining half of the army at Ennilas. For most of his subjects, however, there was no war. Days flowed by as they always had in the timeless halls of Ennilas and in countless woodland dells and feast-halls.
Lord Haladan, the king’s kinsman and trusted envoy, traveled to the sun-dappled woods of Bregil and there convinced the prince of those woods, a great warrior and general, to take up arms and join his fight against the rebels in the east and the monsters in the west.
The Forest Realm of Meledrian –
Ruler –King Eldareth Hammerhand
Dominant Race – Elf
||Eldareth of Meledrian and his brother Elorian of Celendor were opposites from birth, as if driven by the gods themselves to be as different as possible. Just as Elorian was splitting his forces, king Eldareth concentrated his own armies, bringing most of Meledrian’s armed forces under his personal command and marching to the Celendor front at Dalariadh. His always-present shadows, the Deathseeker assassins, rode and slept at his side.
The Circle of Dusk continued to invoke the powers of the Dark Court on behalf of Meledrian. Dark flowers bloomed across the land as the duskbread tree took root in the eastern forests. It’s soft, warm fruits contain both nourishment and a mild narcotic and soon became a delicacy throughout the realm.
In the east, Prince Namardil governed the capital in his father’s name. He tore down the walls of the capital and founded a new neighborhood on a nearby hill formerly called Dol Enduilas, but now renamed Ancargul. He continued work on the great Cathedral of the Final Dissolution and patronized the founding of a school of gladiatorial combat.
After transferring command of much of the Meledrian army to his king, Lord Aeliniel then took sail eastward down the Wolf river to points unknown.
Lord Cerelindas, governor of the newly-established port town of Narbyndahl ruled that city as his own private fiefdom, patronizing certain merchants and terrorizing others. He and his sons devoted most of their time to the pursuit of manticore hunting, often using captive humans for bait in their dangerous game.
The Ur-Vath Horde –
Capital – Wellamo
Dominant Race – Human
The Conorrian Heartland –
|The Conorrian Empire –
Ruler –Emperor Saxonius I
Capital – Echoriath
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Conorr [T]
|Newly crowned Emperor Saxonius divorced the Empress Anna, offering only the vague and unquestioned reason that she was morally unsuitable. Anna was then “exiled” (read: imprisoned) in the Maiden’s Tower, an isolated structure on a rocky islet about a mile out to sea from Echoriath. Two days later, Saxonius announced his marriage to Anna’s eighteen year old sister, Lucretia. A beautiful young woman, Leucretia was also soon to establish around her a throng of adoring young officers and poets, much to Saxonius’s annoyance. Still, she offered him legitimacy upon the Phoenix Throne, so the Emperor indulged his young wife’s whims.
The old Emperor had two other daughters, and Saxonius was quick to reward his closest supporters with marriage into the royal family. General Kaius, when a mere subaltern in the Legio V Ursus, had saved Saxonius’s life at the battle of Modynus. He was now elevated to the purple and given the hand of princess Caliope in marriage.
Saromanius, the consul whose early support had given
Saxonius’s coup support among the noble houses, was given large estates in Sabratha and married to princess Sophia.
The Emperor dispatched his personal troubleshooters, the Imperator Aquilae to seek out trouble within the Empire and deal with it. In Pautalia, they uncovered the strange laboratory of Virinis, a mad dwarven priest of a chaos cult. Virinis had been kidnapping farmers and travelers and through unspeakable surgeries, merging them with horrid machines. The Imperator Aquilae dealt with his berserk servants and slew the mad priest.
At the direction of the Imperial priesthood, Conorrian priests traveled the Ianthan province of Mocarre, now under the control of the Exarchate of the Crusader States, and began to spread the word of the Grail with quite a bit of success.
Prince Saromanius traveled to the Holy City of Conorr, which had seceded from the Empire during the late coup. It was intolerable that the birthplace of the Empire (and the Republic before that) should be apart from her people. Saromanius cajoled and reasoned and by 2845 had convinced the influential priests and merchants of the city to acknowledge Saxonius as their nominal overlord.
Bishop Delos, meanwhile, struggled to catalog what had been lost and what yet retained in the shrunken Empire. He spent five years making efficient lists of the tax rolls and trying to systematize the Empire’s multifarious and labyrinthine ordinances on taxation, impost, excise and tarrifs. In the end, the revenue system he established promised to serve the Empire well.
Saxonius now divided his forces into three parts. The largest force he kept as his personal army at Echoriath. A smaller force of cavalry and light infantry was stationed at Adoria under the command of his newly-made brother-in-law, Kaius. The smallest, made up entirely of elite light cavalry, was stationed in Acaris under the mercenary commander Angamon with orders to intercept any raiders into the western empire.
While in Echoriath, the young Emperor and Empress spent their nights together almost exclusively. Lucretia gave her husband three strapping sons and a pair of twin daughters to ensure the continuance of his new dynasty. Saxonius might be an usurper, but his sons would be able to trace their heritage back through hundreds of years of Imperial dignity.
A blight…almost surely magical in origin…struck the southeastern province of Autricum in 2841. It was followed by an eerily similar agricultural plague in Adoria in 2843. Between the two, some ten percent of the Empire’s grain supply was destroyed.
In 2843, danger came to the Empire from an unexpected direction – the northeast. Although it took months for certain information to arrive, it became clear to Saxonius that the hobgoblins of Carhallas had invaded the eastern empire in force. Emperor Maugroth had crossed the Esharias river and seized the rich fields of Lederata and was laying siege to the border city of Colanum. Cavalry elements of the hobgoblin army were looting with abandon near Adamos. Wisely choosing to wait for reinforcements, Saxonius summoned Kaius’s army to him while leaving Angamon’s cavalry in the west.
Once united in Faloricum, the Conorrian army numbered thirty thousand strong, including almost four thousand elite Conorrian Legionnaires. Unfurling the ancient Conorrian battle standard known as the Blood Eagle Banner, Saxonius set out eastward along the long road toward Adamos and Colanum.
THE BATTLE OF LEDERATA
The clash of titans in the green hills of Lederata had the potential to shape the future of empires. Thirty-two thousand Conorrians squared off against twenty-two thousand Carhallans. Maugroth’s hobgoblins held the high ground, the best in the province, and had littered the fields around them with stakes and pits. The fanatical hobgoblins also had far more elite units than the humans, and more scouts. But the Conorrians had the weight of numbers, had more cavalry and had the Emperor Saxonius. Saxonius was more than an accomplished general. He was former War Wizard, and wielded significant sorcerous power. Then too, the Blood Eagle Banner had a magnificent effect on all the Conorrians who marched beneath its ancient symbols of power.
As the battle began, the Emperor summoned up a terrible knot of fiery mayhem from a realm not normally perceptible to man. This tremendous force was unleashed across the battlefield in a single, awful burst of energy that rained sulphur and fire down on the Carhallas host, burning thousands in a single moment, and setting panic throughout their lines. But the effort had sorely cost the Emperor, who retired to his tent and thereafter did not take part in the battle. General Kaius led the Conorrians during the actual fighting.
Despite this early victory for the Conorrians, the Carhallans held firm to their strong defense works and poured catapult and ballista fire onto the Conorrian legions. The battle lasted all day, and the great weight of the Conorrian numbers might have carried the day but for the cunning and thorough nature of the hobgoblin defenses. Assault after assault was thrown back, and though the carnage was great on both sides, the Carhallans refused to be dislodged. Finally, it was the Conorrians who broke, retreating back south after suffering more than twelve thousand dead or wounded.
Kaius took his Emperor’s army south to Ganthus Longa, where the defeated Conorrians nursed their wounds and gathered their scattered forces. But the slaughter was hardly less among the Carhallans who, though they held the field, had lost nearly nine thousand dead and wounded. The hobgoblin soldiers took more than a thousand human slaves from among the captured Conorrian soldiers. Some survivors of both militaries were now so highly experienced as to be elites.
In the end, Lederata was not the decisive battle between the two great empires. It was merely the first of many.
|The Great Church of the Lords of the Grail –
Ruler –Patriarch Calidonus
Holy City – Conorr
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Adoria [CA], Phalces [AB], Maelon[CH], Carres, [CH], The Great Meadow [CH], Sunglades [-], Jaelitus [-]
The Patriarch’s Standard
||The wealthy Grail Primacy was a veritable font of gold, spending fortunes to improve the quality of its armies, spies and mages. It rebuilt dozens of looted towns in Adoria, and helped improve farmland in Phaedon and Greensward.
The Great Church hired mercenary troops to serve in Lorraine and Dhûnazhar. It hired mercenary leaders to serve in Conorria and the Primacy itself.
Patriarch Calidonus returned to Conorr, where he exacted a tithe from the halflings of Thariyya. He attempted to do the same from the men of Tirgonia, but that distant land refused to hear the call.
Prince Tonali rode with dwarven lord Fundin at the head of nine thousand Grail troops as they raided the orcish lands north of the Worldspine Mountains. He and all his men were killed there. (See, The Worldspine Orcs, above).
Bishop Telerus traveled from Neldorea to Valesia, where he established an abbey in Phalces and a church in Maelon. Bishop Tantalus, also in Valesia, established a church in Carres.
Bishop Belisarius remained in Dhûnazhar to help defend the dwarven capital with four thousand Grail troops. He died there of stomach ailments in the winter of 2845. Bishop Kadmus traveled to Adoria and re-consecrated the damaged cathedral.
Bishop Constantikos (son of the late Conorrian Emperor) traveled to Lorraine with warships, mercenaries and three thousand Grail troops.(See Lorraine, above). Dwarven mercenary Khedem-Var traveled from Uls Fakhar to Anicium, where he took command of four thousand Grail troops to help defend the western Conorrian frontier.
The Dwarven Realm of Dhûnazhar –
Ruler – King Valand Dragonsbane
Capital – Khelem Vala
Dominant Race – Dwarf
Diplomacy – Jaelitus [A]
|The Kingdom Under the Mountain built a great number of mines and villages in the province of Phaedon. But the special genius of the dwarves has always been in their clever stonecutting and sturdy fortifications. They spent much gold and manpower building stout towers and castles throughout Jaelitus and Dhûnazhar. Dhûnazhar especially absolutely bristles with fortifications, making it one of the most heavily protected regions in Theeurth.
King Valand named his son Thorin as his heir, and Thorin’s twin sister Thorinna as a Princess of the realm. Then he marched south into Phaedon with his main force, four thousand Dhûnazhar King’s Elite, the most heavily armored warriors ever to struggle under the weight of steel. There, in addition to watching the borders, he trained several hundred ordinary dwarf warriors to the exacting standards of the King’s Elite.
Lord Roin continued to confer with the leaders of Jaelitus, and convinced them to become full allies of Dhûnazhar. Lord Balin remained in Dhûnazhar, overseeing the defenses. Lord Fundin set out for the wilds of Torokon with a thousand King’s Elite warriors in the company of Grail Bishop Tonali and his nine thousand religious fanatics, a journey from which Fundin alone would return (See The Worldspine Orcs, above.)
|The Warded Realm of Pelendur –
Ruler –King Gregor
Capital – Eidolon
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Iaurinum [NT], Magrod [C]
|King Gregor granted hundreds of soldiers each to his allies Sir Bedrose of Edhel Gorthas and Sir Varthane of Draconium, an act of kindness that was to be repaid with bitterness by the sons of Varthane.
Lord Varthane died in 2843 and his sons immediately repudiated the alliance (though they kept the troops.) They sent word to Eidolon that Pelendur’s armies might cross their lands, but that the king could expect no troops or tribute.
Prince Ulfast, brorther of Gregor and heir to the throne, dropped dead one winter morning in 2842 at the age of fifty-seven. His doctors believe his heart simply gave out.
Sir Illidor traveled to the distant western city of Magrod, a journey of nearly two years away over dense forests and hills, and laid claim to the city of Grail-worshiping hobgoblins on behalf of the kingdom. The locals laughed and shrugged and looked nervously towards the hobgoblin army encamped across the river in Colanum.
Lady Chanrey traveled nearly as far, to the forest-realm of Iaurinum, where she arranged for King Gregor to marry the daughter of the local chieftain. In exchange, the woodmen of Iaurinum permitted Pelendur armies and merchants to traverse their lands.
North-Western Vales –
The Llyran Republic –
Ruler –Constans Emratur z’Accotto Marova
Capital – Tarrentica
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Halianis [T]
|Gentle reader, hear Poliphilo tell of his dreams,
Dreams sent by highest heaven.
You will not waste your labour, nor will listening irk you,
For this wonderful work abounds in so many things.
If, grave and dour, you despise love-stories,
Know, I pray, that things are well ordered herein.
You refuse? But at least the style, with its novel language,
Grave discourse and wisdom, commands attention.
If you refuse this, too, note the geometry,
The many ancient things expressed in Nilotic signs…
Here you will seethe perfect palaces of kings,
The worship of nymphs, fountains and rich banguets.
The guards dance, dressed in motley, and the whole
Of human life is expressed in dark labyrinths.
-Anonymous Elegy to the Reader
by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
|The Llyrans continued to develop the province of Nova Valis, and to expand their already large fleet of transport vessels.
With this expanded fleet, Constans Marova transported not only his own division of three thousand men, but the entire Neldorean army (albeit in multiple trips) to the island kingdom of Lorraine to aid in the international effort to overwhelm the orcs of Dines (See Lorraine, above).
Magister Blaise traveled to the forests of Halianis and from a makeshift encampment amidst the ruins of Jarlhaven, he negotiated a tribute from the poor Ianthan woodsmen.
Meanwhile, Bishop Ayld returned to Tarrentica, where he guarded the island’s shores until his death in 2843.
On the gentle Llyran Republic home island there is a rivalry between the Order of Illumination and the Order of Narses on whose agents will discover and control the artifact known as “the Purple Tome”. The newssheets are filled with the story that missing senator Dietr Laroved was searching in the ruins of Jarlhaven for this very relic when he so mysteriously disappeared.
An investigation has begun by the son of Senator Laroved, the new Magister of
the Llyran Republic, Blaise Pascal Laroved. With the help and discliplined efforts of Incantorus Hermoine the search goes abroad. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Senator Laroved is often the tales of sidewalk cafes and coffee shops across the Llyran scene. Starting from the Laroved estate, Riandis House in Tarrentica, to the wilds around the ruins of Jarlhaven in Halianis, the search for the Purple Tome grips the attentions of the Llyran population. Any twist and turn in the mystery astounds and creates more fodder for the attention of the magic-loving Llyrans.
|The Holy Matriarchy of Ahuran–
Ruler –Queen Rhia Moonshadow
Capital – Sedeskan
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Ahristhon [T], Finnabar [-]
|The farmers of Ilmultorn have so terraced and irrigated their once-lonely hills that the land now produces food in great abundance. The approaches to the capital are rich with olive groves and grape arbors, while vegetables of every description are available in its markets.
Queen Rhia and her cousin Yvonne Hawkwing traveled to the southern forests of Ahristhon and convinced the Landress, Suzanne, to pay tribute directly to the Matriarchy’s coffers. Yvonne stayed on in Ahristhon to hunt for signs of cultic activity while the queen returned to the capital. Yvonne Hawkwing, hero of the Matriarchy, died in Ahristhon in 2845 at the age of fifty-eight.
Once in Sedeskan, Queen Rhia became pregnant within a month and gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter near the end of 2845.
The queen’s lieutenants Mira Lyxnpaw and Julia Lark administered the realm from
|Ilmultorn during her absence.
Lady Miranda Foxglove took sail across the Whale Road to the elves of Finnabar. Though she lived among them for four years, they showed no interest in joining a human nation.
Landress Lucille of Haalthor, a stern and driven woman, marched into Veij with a thousand Haalthor rangers and burned out a temple of Andobulos and the attendant cultic lodge of the Fleshweavers. A dozen cult members were hung by the roadside. Lucille and her harriers then marched into Madukkan and repeated the process. They then searched for more cults in Mahaaran, but finding none, rested at last.
In 2843, Sirrush the dragon descended on the lands of Veij and took what he desired. Flocks of sheep, hundreds of women, men and children, a half dozen villages. All were gone in a single season.
Ruler –Sultan Shazanon Alouda
Capital – Mar Awas
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Husen [T], Damo [A]
|With little contact to the central government, the sultan’s control over Husen, Damo and Dikhil degraded.
Sultan Shazanon, though young, acted swiftly to solidify his hold on power. He married his sister Zobeide to Abu Bahar, Lord of Gon Bahar and named his new brother-in-law a Prince. He also elevated his own full brother Schariar to the position of Prince.
Then he sent Lords Bajid and Nooldor to the forests of Husen to arrange a marriage between himself and the daughter of the lord of Husen as part of a diplomatic effort that resulted in Husen agreeing to pay the Sultan taxes and the beginnings of true agriculture in the region. Lord Bajid died of a heart ailment in 2842, but Lord Nooldor concluded the treaty to everyone’s satisfaction.
Once installed in the palace, the new sultana gave birth to a son in 2845.
Shazanon also ordered the expansion of the great port at Agazier, although the expected trade with the Conorrian Empire still did not come in.
Finally, newly-created prince Abu Bahar of Gon Bahar traveled to the elvish forest of Damo and there convinced the elves to completely submit to the sultan at Mar Awas.
Feeling that the lowland government had nothing to offer them, the tribes of Dua’lim let their feudal oaths to Mar Awas lapse.
|The Valesian Empire –
Ruler –Primarch Centorius II, Euristis
Capital – Centauris
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Thymene [EA]
|The Empire invested heavily in shipping, building thirty new warships at the protected harbors of Vales and twenty merchant vessels at the docks of Centauris. They also trained two thousand elite Valesian Hoplites
Prince Tempus, the Primarch’s brother, traveled to Thymene to improve relations with that province. He died in 2842 when he struck his head during a wrestling competition. Though he lingered for days, his death could not be stopped. Despite, or perhaps because of his death, the clan leaders of Thymene agreed to allow Centauris to control the trade in Thymene cedars and firs.
Lords Dracon and Malishas both died in 2842 during an epidemic which killed hundreds in Centauris. Before he
died, Malishas commanded the fleet that transported Lord Novo and five thousand hoplites to the island of Lorraine to fight the Dines Orcs (See Lorraine, above.) After the battle, Lord Novo decided that he liked Lorraine far better than he did the sun-bleached shores of Valesia. He and his hoplites forswore their oaths of allegiance and took to the lives of mercenaries.
Prince Achmaenus governed the city of Vales for three years, but moved on to Ventas before really settling into the office.
Lord Davion of Euristi rode out to give battle to a sea-devil that had plagued the southern coast for many years. Unfortunately, the sea-devil was clever and in its attack killed Davion’s horse and badly wounded the hero.
Ruler –General Lyansys
Capital – Thedelos
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Zorches [-UN], Lerope [C]
|General Lyansys directed two major settlements of the landless sathla. The first was in Badar, where farms left fallow by the pirates were once again tenanted and farmed. The second was a small trading village on the Artaxes at Keferis that Lyansys named Kesydon
Since the sathla continued to pay their tribute to the pirates, the pirates returned their prisoner Admiral Sesthan from his captivity in the western isles.
Sorcerers summoned spirits of the earth and air to improve the land in Badar and Habu, while priests went among the Grail worshipers of Egu and Gatz. They made some headway in converting the men of Gatz, but the men of Egu held firm to their faith in the Lords of the Grail.
Speaker Gozbul set out along the south bank of the Artaxes to treat with the sathla of Zorches. His stay was so short that the annoyed natives cancelled even the Luxurite claim on their lands. Gozbul then obliviously crossed the Artaxes and claimed Lerope for his General.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the Luxurites, the lizard-men of Drormt were streaming north in great numbers. (See The Steaming Kingdom of Drormt, below).
|The Holy See of Udjo –
Ruler –Arch Priest Pysus
Holy City – Merwal
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Habu [CA], Naqada [AB]
||Aged Arch Priest Pysus the Pious spent five years consecrating a great cathedral in Habu known as the Iron Scale Temple. He also announced The Edict of Habu, which ordered the continued renaissance of Merwal and the conversion of sauruses of Drormt. The Edict also strongly hinted that the men of Sendahl must also be converted since they ruled over a city of sathla.
When the Edict was read, a young sathla priest approached and asked the Arch Priest why the Holy See should bother to convert sauruses, humans and other non-sathla. Pysus praised the priest for his temerity and declared a great feast for the daring young priest. The finest wines and meats were served. At the end of the feast, Pysus had several burly acolytes seize the priest and hurl him into Merwal’s deepest dungeon, where he was cold and hungry for weeks. Then the priest was released and brought before Pysus.
“What did you learn?” the Arch-priest asked the now-chastened young priest.
“Not to question the will of Udjo?” he responded timidly.
“Your ordeal was like that of the Holy City,” explained Pysus. “Long ago the sathla were mighty and ruled the land in the name of Udjo. They brought the truths of Udjo wherever they traveled. But then in their pride the saw only themselves. They were great and forgot where their greatness came from. And so Udjo cast down the Holy City and allowed foreigners and idol-worshipers to command it.”
“Autumna is part of the soul of the sathla. No sathla can truly live without the light of Udjo. All will return to the fold as we grow stronger in faith. But this is not so of the other races, who hear the voices of their demon gods too strongly. So we must bring Autumna to them, through persuasion and teaching where possible, through fire and spear where necessary. Go and spread the word.”
It was not long later that word of the terrible destruction of Ser Medhele arrived in Merwal. The Sendahlese riders on their tall kankas had enslaved every sathla of the city and surrounding countryside and burned their holy places in a terrible affront to the goddess. Pysus thundered against the humans from the Great Cathedral and the crowds in Merwal shouted for human blood! This affront would soon pale compared to the evil depredations of the lizard-men. (See The Steaming Kingdom of Drormt, below).
Almost unnoticed among the greater events, Shivinjia the Mistress, another aging sathla, traveled south to Mekebele, asking questions of travelers and tribesmen about a band of monks that had traveled through the region long ago.
Lord Diviagri, preaching from Merwal, forced the priests of Mykele to begin sending a tithe to the Primacy.
The Serpentine of Mykele –
Ruler –Sauressh Sishtreth II
Capital – Oroyon
Dominant Race – Sathla
Diplomacy – Ursurrnam [T], Vaaltoth [F]
|At the directions of the Sauressh, Lord Sssam remained as governor of the city of Mikkulizim. Though the city was a conquered place whose sathla spoke Vaasilos and worshiped the Dark Court, Sssam was quite successful in organizing the guilds into an efficient workforce and in convincing many Mykele-speaking, autumna-worshiping sathla to migrate west and settle in the coastal city.
Meanwhile, Prince Vlaasthess traveled to Ursurrnam, where he arranged a marriage between the Sauressh and the daughter of the chieftain. The chieftain agreed to pay tribute to the Serpentine. Vlaasthess died of heat stroke after swallowing a large rat in Ursurrnam in 2843.
Lord Markessh sailed out to meet the pirate fleet and delivered the agreed-upon ransom for the Serpentine’s safety. He then traveled inland to Vaaltoth, where he browbeat the local lord, aged Tailheresh, into naming Sishtreth II as his heir. Tailheresh conveniently died shortly thereafter, leaving his realm in the hands of the Sauressh.
THE SOUTHERN PIRATES
Satisfied with their tribute from Mykele, the pirates sailed off into the sunset.
North-Eastern Vales –
|The Kingdom of Thariyya –
Ruler –King Mogrihan Vahdin
Capital – Uls Fakhar
Dominant Race – Halfling
Diplomacy – Hassar [A]
|The halflings prepared to weather a siege. They invested in siege training, they put away a great store of food and the recruited two thousand new siege engineers at Uls Fakhar.
King Mogrihan named his younger brother Azek to be his heir and successor. Mogrihan ruled Thariyya from Uls Fakhar and fathered a daughter in 2842.
Warlike preparations continued elsewhere as well. Prince Zarahan commanded the defenses of Uls Fakhar while Admiral Beneasis Al-Oghram patroled the seas on behalf of the Red Pact of Vales.
Lord Relequa traveled to Hassar and welcomed the former conquest as a full ally of the Thariyyan halflings.
|The Airnim Horde –
Ruler – Tarl Wolf’s Paw
Capital – None
Dominant Race – Human
|The old shaman woman Sundijama died in 2841.
An attempt was made on Tarl’s life in 2843 which resulted in the poisoning of his personal servant.
In 2844, Tarl named his second son, Korthos, a prince of the Airnim.
|The Warlocks of Accolon –
Ruler –Emperor Jozan North
Capital – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Dursarc [C]
|With little physical connection to the central government, the Emperor’s control over Carru and Zamash degraded.
The Warlocks built three thousand new troops at Dammarask and spent several months stationing the armies and garrisons of the realm. The walls of Nuradeem and of the Fortress of the Abyss at Agharra were both strengthened.
In 2841, the Emperor named Elijah Cuu as his successor and heir in a ceremony at Agharra. He then rode forth at the head of five thousand troops to conquer the plains of Ninur and bring back their scattered tribes in chains. It made little difference to Jozan North that the Ninurites were co-religionists. They were untapped labor, and that was all that mattered to Accolon. The Ninurites were led back to Dammarsk in chains and put to work in the city.
Meanwhile, Elijah Cuu ruled Accolon in the Emperor’s name. His wife gave birth to a single son in 2842, but died in childbirth trying to bear him a second son in 2843.
Ezekiel the Cipher traveled from Nuradeem to Dursarc on the Mulgaunt and claimed the steppes for Accolon. Khatib the Conjurer tried to hire the Company of the Silver Axe but was outbid by another employer.
Bishop Caine continued to govern the city of Agharra in his efficient manner.
Without the guiding hand of the Emperor, the region of Sin revolted, but brutal reprisals by the Emperor’s secret police ended the revolt quickly.
|The Shadowed Primacy of the Dark Court –
Ruler –High Priest Gezz Half-Shadow
Holy City – Dammarask
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Balbane [MN]
|The Dark Primacy sponsored schools, seminaries and several villages in Akin, enriching that already wealthy region. It also recruited thousands of elite horsemen in the same region.
Bishop Serakin traveled from Nisvet to Balbane, where he canonized a monastery in the desert above the Road of Ashes. He died there in 2844 and was buried in its crypts.
Bishop Malkus preached to the forest tribes from the monastery in Arbath.
Little was heard of the other bishops or of Gezz Half-Shadow, who remained sequestered in Dammarask.
The Shadowguard of Marador –
Ruler –Queen Madariel Shadowfoot
Capital – Lantar
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Laikwalambe [F]
||The elves awakened a hearttree in Kinn-Lai, which grew into the leafy city they named Lothorion. At the same time, they began to widen and pave the road from Lantar, reaching as far as the Alako / Kinn-Lai border. Gentle brooks were artfully diverted and gardens of memory planted throughout Alako.
Queen Madariel remained in Nastaldo, searching for…something. Prince Alitcean coursed across Windan, seeking out more of the deadly shadows, without success.
Vaeril Fallingwater arrived in Laikwalambe to aid Lord Ebabarear in negotiations with the local elves. They were astonished to be in direct competition with representatives of the Sengkarian crown, who were also bidding for Laikwalambe. But the Maradorians were more persuasive
and by 2845, the elves of the region conceded the overlordship of the Queen, and allowed trade to flow across their woods to the dwarven mountains.
South-Western Vales –
The Steaming Kingdom of Drormt –
Capital – Breeka
Dominant Race – Saurus
|The serpent men from the north had come to Holy Drormt and cast an evil spell on the minds of the sauruses of Patu. They had begun to preach among the nobles of Breeka, as well. Tlazolteotl had not declared a new Saurus age for nothing. Gathering his swift-moving warriors, he set out north for revenge, but not before feeding the autumna missionaries to his family for a victory feast.
Primitive they might be, but the sauruses were fast and coordinated. Tlazolteotl commanded the first column, consisting of two thousand saurek elite warriors. His queen, Huitcozetl commanded the second column, consisting of three thousand light infantry, while his relatively incompetent cousin Gu’lomp had command of another three thousand light infantry in the third column.
The combined force marched through Erlet and into Itura and then Egu, where they quickly subdued the human tribes. Then Tlazolteotl led his saureks across the Artaxes and into Keferis, while Huitcozetl and Gu’lomp marched into Habu in Cleon 2842.
Two months later, Luxurite leader Speaker Ydrik marched into Habu with twelve hundred infantry. Facing him were five thousand saurus light infantry. Without a second thought, Ydrik moved his men in to attack.
The Battle of Habu
Although Huitcozetl had a great advantage in numbers in mobility, she did have some serious problems. The distance from Breeka had stretched her supply lines almost to the breaking point, her troops were scattered across the region as they prepared to flood Habu’s crops, and her sub-commander was a high-bred ninny without the most rudimentary concepts of command. Ydrik, too, faced a serious difficulty besides overwhelming numbers – he had to cross the Lethes river in small boats to enter Habu and could only get a few of his sathla warriors ashore on each trip. In the end, it was Huitcozetl’s massive numerical advantage that won her the day, even against disciplined sathla warriors. The sauruses stormed the riverfront camp, sinking boats and overwhelming the sathla. Ydrik was killed with his army. The sauruses went on to complete their scorched-earth ruin of Habu’s fields and the destruction of the brand spankin’ new Iron Scale Temple.
The Battle of Keferis
By the end of 2842, Tlazolteotl had seized control of Keferis and begun to burn its fields. In Maravis, 2843, another small Luxurite force blundered into a larger Drormt force when Captain Adnas and a thousand sathla light infantry arrived to take up the defense of Kesydon. As in Habu, the battle was very short. Tlazolteotl’s two thousand elite soldiers chased down and slaughtered their sathla foes before continuing with their slashing and burning. Keferis’s cultivation, public works and church were demolished. Captain Adnas managed to escape the slaughter.
The Battle of Kerma
Word of the saurus invasion reached Thedelos in Northhale of 2842 and General Lyansys immediately marched east with his army of eight thousand sathla, including two thousand sathla elite archers. They arrived in Kerma in Cleon 2843 to find Huitcozetl and her army in the midst of pacifying the region. Neither force acquitted itself with particular dash, but the sheer numerical weight of the sathla army crashed into and overran the sauruses as the sathla archers came screaming out of the trees. In the confusion, the saurus warriors ran for their lives, leaving their queen unguarded. Though he was too late to stop the rape of Habu, General Lyansys captured Huitcozetl, the queen of Drormt.
Despite the loss of his queen, Tlazolteotl and his cousin Gu’lomp managed to complete their mayhem and withdraw to the south before Lyansys could catch up to them. When they returned to their capital, however, they found that in the meantime, Autumna missionaries had been wildly successful in converting the nobles of the city to their religion…
Ruler –King Zordes
Capital – Nyange
Dominant Race – Human
|King Askaldor wed his daughter Gezzress to the young and dashing general Zordes, and then raised Zordes to the status of heir. The celebration of the nuptials and investiture was a grand event in Nyange which left much of the population drunk on fermented horse milk for days.
When his warriors were all sober again, Askaldor announced a great adventure: the subjugation of the stiff-necked sathla of Durudin and Ser Medhele. His predecessors had conquered the great city and its surrounding fields a century ago, but still the worthless sathla refused to acknowledge his overlordship! The large force required to garrison the region had drained Sendahlese coffers for three generations and Askaldor had had more than enough!
With four thousand kanka riders, Askaldor and most of
his court rode north to Durudin, where their force was doubled in size by the local garrisons whose commanders rode out to join them. Seeing the fierce men of the south in their saddles, the local sathla population took up arms to defend themselves, but it was not nearly enough. The Sendahlese rode down the sathla militias and scattered their poorly organized bands in both city and countryside. It took several months, but tens of thousands of sathla were marched off south as slaves to till the fields of Desiket. Ser Medhele was sacked and its Autumna abbey looted. The riders also looted the abbey of Durudin and took its priests and postulants as slaves.
In the wake of the cleansing of Durudin, thousands of hardy Sendahleses soldiers were retired and allowed to become farmers. They swept in to take up the plows left idle by the enslaved sathla.
Askaldor died in 2845 at the age of sixty-four. The wet weather of Durudin simply proved too much for the old man. Zordes was declared king upon his return to Nyange.
Ruler –Emperor Gwarkem
Capital – Awayal
Dominant Race – Human
|The great Emperor Gwarkem, still hale and active in his fifties, ruled peacefully from his sunny palace in Awayal. Yet though he maintained the peace, the old general never ceased to think about war and his troops. He trained them continually, and paid good wages to his best veterans, keeping them on as a training cadre even as they became too old to fight.
He ordered his shaman, the man now called Feardancer Nightwing, to gather his dispersed army to Awayal. When this was done in the summer of 2842, the army numbered fifteen thousand mostly elite troops, including thousands of the fearsome leatherwings
In his fifty-third year, the Emperor fathered another son, but the following year his queen died in childbirth, and her child, a daughter, died with her.
After summoning the army, Nightwing governed the capital in the name of his Emperor. A tall, narrow-eyed man of an unknown tribe,
Nightdancer was rumored to be the son of a notorious witch and a forest demon. In any case, his icy stare was known to cause hardened warriors to tremble and go weak in the knees. Despite being a joyless and exacting man (or perhaps because of it), he was an excellent administrator, for all feared to fail him. Under his hard reins, the city cisterns were expanded and the many merchants ordered and regulated.
Warleader Esani, given the enviable job of governing sunny Kaznuma, applied himself to the task with much more beneficent hand than the shaman, and despite the slower pace of life on the coast, was successful in settling a trade dispute between fishermen. He also began the building of a shrine to the sea nymphs.
Warleader W’sani of Eura died in 2842 when he fell from the back of his airborne leatherwing. The warleader had always been incautious about tightening his leg straps. Warleader Nun’bene died in 2844 when, after a drunken shouting match with his wife, he suffered a sudden stroke.
Rumors reached the Imperial court of an aged sathla priestess in the region of Prorte, asking questions about a caravan of sathla monks that might have traveled through the jungles a century ago.
South-Eastern Vales –
|The Dwarven Realm of Aurdrukar –
Ruler –King Norrim Forgemaster
Capital – The Brass Tower
Dominant Race – Dwarf
Diplomacy – Gamis [NT]
Banner of Aurdrukar
|The Dwarven Realm was at peace. Rivers of gold and armies of craftsmen flowed into Ulhiya to delve caverns and build up mountaintop aeries for the dwarves. Grain mills and mushroom farms sprouted up across the province.
Lord Thulnor traveled north to the hills of Gamis and arranged a marriage between a stout-hearted matron of that realm and the bachelor-heir Belak Shieldbreaker. Their marriage was celebrated in fine style at the Brass Tower and her father granted the dwarves of Aurdrukar the right to cross his territory.
Adventurous Prince Bain rode south into Unuruko on his stout warhorse and there encountered a huge troll that had been plaguing travelers in the region for many years. Through cunning and bravery, Bain slew the troll and brought back its ancient hoard of plunder.
|The Elven Empire of Sengkar –
Ruler –Emperor Valoril Greenshield
Capital – Ezrand
Dominant Race – Elf
Diplomacy – Laikwalambe [-], Ozhayar [-]
|Peace continued to reign in Sengkar. Gold flowed like water to the many interests of the elves. Thousands of elves settled in Vanua as the hearttrees there grew to glorious gold-leafed maturity.
Another thousand elvish knights joined the Imperial bodyguard in Sengkar, now swelled to more than seven thousand elite cavaliers. In Vanua, Prince Namaril drilled with the ten thousand elves of the mobile army.
Princess Gahaliel traveled to the forests of Laikwalambe to negotiate with the green elves there, only to find herself in direct competition with two ambassadors from Marador, including Vaeril Fallingwater, her distant kinswoman. The Maradorians proved more convincing and the green elves swore allegiance to Marador.
In Ozhayar, Lord Talan of Mita continued to negotiate for Sengkar. But Talan is a warrior and not a diplomat. His brusque manner and preemptive demands continue to stall the negotiations.
|The Kingdom of Weshtayo –
Ruler –King Piccarome, Red-Feathered Lord
Capital – Khulank
Dominant Race – Human
|The Weshtayans built several small forts and castles across their realm, continuing the tradition of moderate growth and tight control that marked the kingdom’s history. A postal road was driven across the golden fields of Ssru all the way to the edge of the Bedraku forests. Piccarome had ordered that the road be cut into Bedraku, but the engineers on hand simply did not have enough men and materials, and so stopped the project at the edge of the woods.
Lords Nachin and Batu continued their opulent and increasingly autocratic reigns over the cities of Khulank and Mindarie, respectively. Piccarome turned a blind eye to the depradations of his lieutenants despite the continued complaints of his noblemen.
The Imperial Realm of Zikuyu –
Ruler –KingMwa’q Kashk
Capital – Ivallkyu
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Urrides [FA]
The Valraj –
Ruler –Sultan Khalood
Capital – Muddakir
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Tanoxus [NT]
|The people of The Valraj began the slow climb back from the brink of destruction to which the wars with Tas Dar, Meneen and Zikuyu had brought them. The canals of Luud were dredged, removing both silt and the rotting corpses of men and animals.
Sultan Khalood ruled from Muddakir and gathered all the nation’s military forces under his command. There had been enough fighting and rebellion to last the young sultan a lifetime.
Lord Bharjas traveled to the
forests of Tanoxus and negotiated a treaty with the woodsmen allowing the servants of the sultan to cross over their lands.
The Grand Duchy of Meneen –
Ruler –Grand Duke Salene
Capital – Yaz Meneen
Dominant Race – Elf
|The Grand Duke personally laid out the grounds of the Temple of the Sea Spirits in Dreta, and greeted the garrison of the new castle built to protect the Niorin coast.
Meanwhile, Lord Feantë put to sea with forty swift swanwing ships to guard against raids on the Gates of Arthys.
The Kingdom of Ukanve –
Ruler –King Valoss the Just
Capital – Ukanve
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Kim Taba [T]
|Steady, prudent investment in his priesthood and judiciary placed Valoss the Just in a position where his feudal allies frequently came to him to resolve disputes among them. Thus, almost imperceptibly, he had moved from merely first among equals to a truly dominant position of centralized power.
It was not without some sense of history, then, that the now-universally recognized monarch founded a new city in the rich fields of Shoggen and named it after himself. He laid out the perimeter of the city’s precincts and where certain important buildings should lie with lines of chalk. Thus was born Valoss City.
Meanwhile, Valoss’s son and heir Irithul traveled to the jungles of Kim Taba with Lord Deron as an aide. The two met with several jungle chieftains in an attempt to forge a landward path between Ukanve and its colony at Ayma Vas. Negotiations were stalled by the lack of interest of the Kim Tabans until the sudden death
of Lord Deron. The bored nobleman accidentally swallowed a bee during a prodigious yawn and was killed by the subsequent sting. This apparently deeply affected the Kim Tabans, who felt they had failed to protect their guest. They granted Irithul’s request for access to their jungle paths, and even agreed to send a tribute to the ambassador’s father, whom they termed “The Western Father”.
Prince Eamata, Irithul’s brother, continued to prove his ability as a leader as governor of Ukanve. The prince cajoled, threatened, ranted and intrigued to raise the money to improve the capital with a fine public bath and a temple to the spirit of Spring.
The Shanatar Empire –
Ruler –God-Emperor Uruk
Capital – Feroe
Dominant Race – Human
|God-Emperor Nivraan III recruited two thousand armored knights to his personal bodyguard and oversaw the cultivation of Soqand. In 2844, however, his health began to deteriorate and he became visibly sunken and pale. He died on an autumn day at the age of fifty-seven.
There was immediate trouble. For months there had been dark omens. A flock of black birds flew backwards over Feroe in the spring. Astrological savants predicted a grave alignment in the house of Nivraan. A blind boy in Nimaht spoke in what three magi swore was authentic Iridian, prophesying doom if Nivraan’s heir and brother Nivarnaan were allowed to take the throne.
Thus it was that when the word of Nivraan’s death reached the ears of Lord Uruk, governor of the northern city of Nimaht, he rose in rebellion against the heir. The forceful Uruk spoke out in large rallies about the weak spirit and foolish excesses of Nivarnaan, and these sentiments found great support among the nomadic tribesmen living in the northern and eastern plains. One by one, the provinces of Afarees, Bolqu’an, Delkyn, Ghamzen, Jahander, Jarfad, Javneh, Omeen, Shavelek, Tahmeb, Tirnad and Zarotsht declared their independence.
In the absence of a powerful army (Uruk’s army was a thousand men strong; Nivarnaan’s was twenty times that size), Nivarnaan rode swiftly through the heartland to Chamir, where he immediately began collecting support among the nobles. After a private meeting in the crypts below the city, Lord Yulleraan switched allegiances from Nivarnaan to Uruk, as did most of the army. Lord Jhamaravan remained loyal to Nivarnaan and tried to rally the Imperial Guard to his sovereign’s side; both were arrested and executed.
After the secret investiture ceremony, attended only by his high priest, Uruk assumed the mantle of the God-Emperor, suddenly displaying impressive sorcerous power.
|The Farmuz Emirates –
Ruler –Sultan Javir al Azhkatûm
Capital – Azhkatûm
Dominant Race – Human
|Though mourning the loss of his own son, Aouda, Sultan Javir adopted Imad, son of Sioun, as his own son and heir in a ceremony of ancient ritual witnessed by the sheikhs. Javir went on to rule the tribes for five more peaceful years.
His old friend Sioun took command of the army and traveled to Razir, where he carefully watched the deserts for the approach of the Airnim Horde. He was joined by emirs Hahdem al Carrez and Gersek al Razir. Hahdem died in 2844, and was succeeded by his son.
After his investiture, Prince Imad was only rarely seen by
the residents of Azhkatûm, as he remained deep within the palace.
The Kingdom of Nikitya –
Ruler –King Emelya
Capital – Vikitana
Dominant Race – Human
Diplomacy – Pyiukta [T]
|King Emelya named his son Ivan as heir to his kingdom, then settled in to rule the realm.
Lord Morozlo traveled to the rainy upland forests of Pyiukta and negotiated tribute from the savage chieftains of that realm in exchange for the hand in marriage of Irina, the king’s eighteen year old daughter.
Ilya, Warlord of Chakkikta, surveyed his lands and spoke with many travelers and wise men, learning all he could.
Solovey, Warlord of Syikit, snuck across the wastes of Achaku to raid the dwarven hills of Ippikiki with six hundred woodsmen and rangers. The dwarven villages were protected by several small towers and redoubts, but Solovey’s men were both sudden and sly and managed to burn and loot much of the dwarves supply of grain, mead and cattle.
The Sylvan Realm of Hecadia –
Ruler –Emperor Vataun of the Eight Ports
Capital – Belgramma
Dominant Race – Human
|In the absence of the Emperor, the ancient and somewhat ramshackle Hecadian government began to lose control of the provinces. Impaz ceased sending troops per its feudal obligations, though it continued to send tribute.
Emperor Vataun swiftly returned to the capital and settled in to deal with the fraud and corruption that had gripped the government during his absence. He invested heavily in the training of scribes and the building of post inns and created several important new government ministries. He also named Prince Avedis as his heir and successor. Vataun’s wife gave birth to a son in 2842 and to two daughters in 2844.
Avedis, meanwhile, traveled to Tetomo to try to bring order to the northern provinces. Sadly, the new heir died in Tetomo of sanguinary fever at the age of fifty-four.
This malady, diagnosed by Avedis’s Shanatarian chiurgeon, causes a strange red-tinged sweating fever, and then death. Lords Eznik and Antranig of Chothor expired of the same disease all within the same year.
Hecadia’s other leaders organized the realm’s military forces and watched the borders and coasts for foreign invaders.
|The Kingdom of Kerendis –
Ruler –King Jorald Makkure
Capital – Orbelain
Dominant Race – Human
|It was a dark time in Kerendis. King Voidan has ruled as a man of peace, but the Dark Gods will not extend their blessings to the weak. The halflings in Nisvet had broken their oaths of allegiance to Kerendis and had to be punished for their treachery. Voidan led his priests in prayers and sacrifices to Evaless, patron of Voidan’s clan, to bless the expedition.
Voidan gathered eight thousand troops in Ambalas and Orbelain and marched them to Nisvet to crush the revolt and place the land of Nisvet firmly in the hands of Kerendis forever. The halflings of Nisvet met the royal army with a determined but ultimately hopeless force. In eight weeks of fighting, they were thoroughly beaten.
There was no mercy shown to the survivors. Voidan had dark plans for the turncoats and allowed none to survive their perfidy. Their fate would be an example to any that harbored ideas of rebellion. Once subdued, the halflings were herded into death camps and exterminated, until Nisvet became a barren wilderness. During this orgy of violence in the name of the Dark Goddess, Voidan became gravely ill and died in 2842 (ironically, his death was probably from a disease caught during a visit to the horribly overcrowded camps). His lieutenant Karlos continued his work in Nisvet.
Appalled and outraged by the slaughter of their relatives, the halflings of Anshuyo rose in immediate revolt. But spies sent by the king were prepared for just this eventuality. Within a week, long before the Anshuyites could organize, a dozen of their leaders were captured and publicly executed. The rebellion died before it was born. Turlin Strongknot, feudal lord of Anshuyo, sent hasty reassurances of his loyalty to the king.
|Meanwhile, in nearby Methedras, Voidan’s son Marako was named king and soon returned to Orbelain. Prior to his father’s death, Marako was governing the Methedras, ready to crack down on any violence in the city. He was an excellent administrator and trained his own son Jalak in the ways and means of controlling a city.
After delivering troops to guard Methedras, Lord Sembis governed in the capital. Sembis
|created a secret watch to report on the doings of noble families and prominent merchants. Considered a brutal and crass master, he was nonetheless conceded by most to be an enthusiastic and imaginative tax collector, for which reason the House of Makkure turned a blind eye to his baser predilections.
King Marako died of sanguinary fever in 2845 after only three years on the throne, and was succeeded by his much younger brother, Jorald.
The Emerald Realm of Lekandi –
Ruler –King Galens Eagleheart
Capital – Suwelho
Dominant Race – Elf
|Isolated on its island-continent, the Emerald Realm lived in years of blissful peace with the blessings of the ahainu, the spirits. King Galens ruled from his living throne in Suwelho, wisely settling disputes and guiding the prosperity of the land. Elvish shepherds and tenders of the trees used their arts to grow wondrous crops, and there was plenty of all good things.
Mindful of the great numbers of sathla beyond the Madwana river, the elves erected fortified redoubts along the upper river in Arumbom.
Lord Juelans returned to Suwelho, where he governed the city in the name of the king. Juelans spent most of his time hunting and hawking, but did attend to his duties at least occasionally.
Rumors came to his ears of an unknown race. Several examples of the burly, vaguely elvish race called men came to Fikosha, supposedly from beyond the great northern sea, and with the assistance of translation magic, asked many questions about the sathla that used to live there. They then departed again, this time into the west.
Rumors from Elsewhere –
Rumors say that the legendary Lance of Tumbru, the great cavalry commander, has been found in the Seven Kingdoms.
GM’s Tip #13 –
Each turn, I will use this space to present a useful rules hint. Eventually, all of you will know what LOTE GM’s and experienced players know.
The React Order
GM is given broad latitude to decide how armies and leaders react to danger and invasions. Here’s how I do it:
There are four states of readiness: Defend, React, Attack and Everything Else.
Defend: Almost nothing will cause a Defending army to move from its prepared position.
React: If the Army is set to react when the danger becomes apparent, the Leader will make a React roll to see how quickly he responds. At that point, he will act either according to conditional orders or according to what the GM thinks he would do (based on the leader’s situation, knowledge and Combat ability). Don’t bother writing “React if invaded”. This is just “everything else” to me.
Extra AP’s don’t make one react more efficiently. The question is, is the leader issuing a React order when he becomes aware of the danger?
Attack: Armies ordered to attack will react less quickly than armies ordered to React, but still maintain some tactical flexibility. However, if they are off in some distant region, they may never hear of the danger.
Everything Else: If a leader understands that a danger or invasion is happening, he will react eventually. This will be according to your conditional orders or according to what the GM thinks he would do.
Note that any reaction depends on the Leader’s knowledge of the danger. Using an RF op will improve the chances of leaders being aware of danger in a timely manner.
GM’s NoteI commonly see players throwing in a “React” order for the last 3-4 AP of the turn, whatever they have left after the leader finishes what he’s doing. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this acts as a partial react for the entire turn. It is a react order -only- for those last few AP. Earlier, he’s doing other things.
Next Turn: Quality Ratings and Investment in them.
Page Completed 14 January 2007